It’s not often that players in the NBA are able to find a true turn-around in perception and production.
In 2004-2005, Lamar was struggling like most every other Lakers player. According 82games.com Lamar was not contributing in proportion with his salary. He totaled a 45.9 win% and had a Net48 (points allowed per 48 minutes with him on the floor) of -2.1. (For the same season, Brian Cook had a Net48 of +3.5. Is that how you know you’re struggling?) The Lakers even put together losing streaks of 8 games, 6 games and 5 games at the end of the season to go 2-19 in their last 21 games. Dismal. Definitely not blaming Lamar, just providing some context. Clearly that was a team effort.
Despite the worry that marrying Khloe Kardashian would be a distraction and a negative influence on the court, this year Lamar has a win% of 71.4 and a Net48 of +9.5. Playing with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum instead of Chris Mihm and Brian Cook probably had something to do with it. To all of our eyes, Lamar has actually been a very important player the last couple of years after being a pretty big scapegoat (along with Luke and Farmar). He’s having a particularly good season so far and we should be sure to give thanks for being able to watch such a joyful player. Lamar won’t have his jersey retired with the Lakers but make sure to take note of the man who has been through a tragedy yet found a way to love life and the game of basketball anyway. A toast, then, to Mr. Lamar Odom.